“Good evening, ladies and gentleman! We are Broken Social Scene,” announced a hat-wielding Kevin Drew to the eager crowd in Fort Lauderdale– a crowd addicted to the concept of what will come next from this Canadian entourage, especially after seeing Brendan Canning pick furiously away at his bass while crawling about the floor.
Still, the night didn’t start off all Canning and Drew. One would expect and imagine, with Canadian rockers Broken Social Scene accompanied with their successful label Arts and Crafts, that the opening act would at least be tolerable. I’ll even take interesting to look at. So why couldn’t we get The Stills? Too much? Ok, I know Feist is asking for a lot, but why did we have to get the bitter end of the Arts and Crafts catalog with Zeus?
Harsh? Well, let’s be honest here. The band consistently lost the crowd by losing their own sound. Did they want to sound like Fleet Foxes via their vocal harmonies, or was it that very familiar pop sound Franz Ferdinand gave us with “Take Me Out” back in 2003? No? What about anything off of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Either way, the crowd wanted something, and it sure as hell wasn’t anything Zeus had to offer. Hit the showers, boys.
Photo by Lauren Guagno
Moving on, I can’t ignore the fact that Broken Social Scene opened the show in the only way that they could. When the crowd found themselves caught in the broken notes of “KC Accidental”, everything just seemed to explode. Whether it be Canning falling to the ground within the first 20 seconds of the song, Justin Peroff stabbing the high-hat while keeping a calm and steady face, or Andrew Whiteman slipping about with each new riff, it was all happening relatively fast.
Broken Social Scene was not going to let the crowd walk away unfulfilled and full of energy, ready to hit the bars during the late night. No, they made damn well sure that you were going to leave this show hurt, tired, worn out, and enjoying every moment of that pain. When songs like “Texico Bitches” or “7/4 Shoreline” hit the crowd, they hit hard. It all happened in flashes: the constant bopping up and down, the viciously moving skulls, or the one lame attempt to crowd surf brought to you by a confused indie kid, the energy was clearly present in the four walls of Fort Lauderdale’s Revolution.
Photo by Lauren Guagno
Nostalgia was a major theme in the venue, and this was seen in waves throughout the night. When the band dished out a song like “Fire Eye’d Boy”, one couldn’t help but be brought to the moment when they first spun Broken Social Scene’s acclaimed self-titled album and what they felt the first time they heard that little number. It would be unjust to ignore the intimate and pleasing tearjerker of the Bee Hives version of “Lover’s Spit”… it just sort of yanked that breath from you.
Above all, the most enjoyable and amicable aspect of the night was that it didn’t really feel like a show. Instead, it felt like you were watching a friend’s band practice, somewhere off in some lone suburb, where playing one’s heart exhaustively out was truly the only way to find solace. At one point, Drew pleaded, “We got a bar mitzvah going on next door– we got to be louder than them.” Canning nodded in approval. It was that organic chemistry that lent itself to feeling so, well, organic. The show didn’t feel as if it had a set list of songs that needed to be played before exiting the venue; the band played what they wanted to play, when they wanted to play it, and how they wanted to play it. Isn’t that the American rock ‘n’ roll dream?
Photography by Lauren Guagno.
Gallery by Lauren Guagno